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New Romance Novelette!

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Jewel (jewela) | 13 comments Hey, my new short story Sweet 21 Birthday Ball is now available on Amazon!

Blurb
When Italian pastry chef, Marcello Giannini took the train to visit his parents, he could never have guess how much this one trip would change the course of his life.
Dominique Jensen has only loved one man her entire life, and she has been unable to open her heart to another. Discouraged, she wonders if the dreams and wishes she has fostered for so long will ever come true.
But how long is too long to wait for love?

Excerpt

Venice, Italy
Running down the flooded walkways of Venice, Marcello Giannini weaves his way through the passing tourists, making it to the San Marco piazza just in time to catch the train to Treviso. He'd decided against picking his car up from the garage and driving to his parent's home, opting to take the train instead. He has no plans to drive for the next few days. Besides, he can use his father's car if he really needs to.
By the time Marcello makes it to a seat, his hair is plastered to his brow. Combing his fingers back through the wet black waves, he smiles, looking forward to his mother's cooking. At twenty-two years old and the owner of one of Venice's most popular pastry shops, Marcello isn't rich, but his lifestyle is a comfortable one. He lives simply and has all he needs.
“Except a wife,” he can hear Mama saying, a phrase that is repeated each time he comes home. He is sure he will hear it again during this visit as well.
Yesterday his mother informed him that they would be having guests. A friend and business acquaintance of his father's is visiting from the United States. Marcello has heard nothing but good things about this family and he is looking forward to meeting them.

“You're all wet,” a small American voice calls to Marcello from one of the second floor windows as he approaches the door.
Looking up, he grins. “That I am,” he responds in English. “Do you think it will be all right for me to come in and dry off?”
“I suppose,” she answers. “Just wipe your feet off really good first, okay?”
Marcello chuckles. “Okay.”
“Ciao, Marcello,” his mother greets him, kissing both cheeks. “You are all wet.”
“Yes, I have been told this,” he says, a grin splitting his face as his little informant approaches. “And who is this beautiful little angel who so dutifully suggested that I wipe my feet thoroughly before coming in?”
His mother laughs. “This little darling is Miss Dominique Jensen, one of our guests.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Dominique.” He bows royally, drawing a giggle from the little girl. Taking in the fair tone of the child's skin and the glorious head of black curly ringlets, Dominique reminds him of a doll on display in the window of one of the city gift shops. He knows the girl is the product of mixed race parents, her mother being black and her father white, and though he has yet to meet them, he can clearly see the ethnicity of both in their daughter.
Marcello drops to one knee and asks, “How old are you?” musing that she is getting an early start in female bossiness.
“I'm eight. How old are you?”
He laughs. Leaning toward her he whispers, “I'm twenty-two, but don't tell anyone, okay? Mama keeps bugging me about getting married.”
She moves closer and whispers back, “You want me to talk to her?” and Marcello bites his lip, stifling his laughter.
“Maybe later. Shall we go and meet your parents?”
“Sure,” she says, grabbing his hand. “Come on.”

For the next few days, Marcello and Dominique are inseparable. No matter what he is doing or where he's going, the little girl's hand is always tucked in his and he is helplessly twisted around her little finger.
From a game of checkers in front of the living room fireplace to playing with Dominique's dolls in a mini pink tent on the covered patio, to chasing one another through the Giannini's olive grove, watching animated movies with a bowl of popcorn between them, and finally, Marcello carrying the sleeping little girl up and tucking her in when she can no longer keep her eyes open. Every moment is full.
Marcello extends his stay and fills the time taking Dominique and her parents picnicking, shopping and sightseeing. He and Dominique spend an afternoon baking cookies and little cakes, and then have a tea party afterward. A couple of stuffed bears and a few dolls are in attendance.
Marcello enjoys every moment he spends with Dominique. He completely adores the little girl and now refers to her as mi Domi.

Saying goodbye to Dominique at the airport is one of the hardest things Marcello has ever done. Dropping to his knees, he tearfully hugs her and she clings tightly to him, crying against his neck.
“Shhh, don't cry” he whispers. “I will come and see you in the States when summer comes.”
“You promise?” she asks between sobs. “Promise to come, Cello.”
He smiles at her endearing nickname for him. “I promise, mi Domi. I promise.”
“And you can't get married cause your wife won't let you come.”
Marcello meets Evan and Serena Jensen's smiles over Dominique's shoulder. “Don't worry, baby girl,” he whispers against her ear. “I'm waiting for you to grow up.”
Wiping his eyes, Marcello stands at the foot of the escalator and watches the family until they are no longer in sight. He vows then and there to never let a year pass without seeing his Domi. He had made this promise to her, not fully understanding that the hold she has on his heart is much bigger than them both.

I miss Cello. Can't wait til summer.
He promised to come.
He promised.

p.s. I'm gonna marry Cello when
I grow up.
Dominique's Diary


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